How I used my College Network to Land a Job (Plus: Advice on how to reach out to Alumni!)

With summer officially here, it’s time for our Tigers think about what opportunities are available through LSU. Tiger alumni stretch from local to worldwide, so it is important that students use their connections in the right ways in order to land a job. In today’s society, networking is the best way to get your foot in the door. The experiences and professionalism student’s gain from LSU is what will land them the job! Check out some tips below to share with your student to encourage them to network their way to a great first impression.

  1. Evaluate what you’ve accomplished and create a strong resume. Resources at the LSU Olinde Career Center can help you impress your potential employer with a great resume. Professional development classes, such as HRE 3331 here on campus, will help you kick start your resume to look its best. According to Michelle Sprawls, a student at LSU, “Your resume is the first thing that employers look at. So, if it is not absolutely perfect, you don’t have a chance of getting an interview.” Upload your resume to Handshake to have it reviewed for feedback from the LSU Olinde Career Center staff before applying for that dream job.
  2. Consider Informational Interviews. Informational Interviews can be very helpful for individuals looking to learn more about a potential field. It also shows employers that you are willing to take time out of your day to gather more information before rushing into a new job. Students can apply online or even email individuals/companies directly to set these interviews up. They do not always lead to a job in that moment, but they open the door for follow up and future opportunities. Click here for a list of questions to consider asking during an informational interview.
  3. Create a LinkedIn account, or update if necessary. You want to make sure your LinkedIn account is ready to be looked at by potential employers, same as your resume. Having a clear, organized and up-to-date LinkedIn account will help you make a great first impression when you connect to LSU Alumni through the LSU Alumni database! To access the database just go to Louisiana State University’s LinkedIn, and click See Alumni. You can then search by location, company or job title! Ms. Sprawls notes that it is an extremely useful resource that many students at LSU are not aware of. She adds, “A common misconception is that you shouldn’t add people you don’t know, but I’ve had a lot of success doing this.” By connecting with people you don’t know you are able to create new connections for future networking opportunities, as well as learn more about their field if you are interested. Pages 32-33 of the Student Career Guide provide an overview of how to make the most of your LinkedIn networking experience.
  4. Join student organizations professional associations. Joining different organizations and associations while on campus is vital to finding a job once you graduate. Employers are interested in students who have extracurricular activities and are active throughout campus. Mayilyn Weller, another student at LSU, has acquired an internship through a fellow sorority sister. Not only are these groups fun to be a part of, but they create strong ties and provide great networking pools for your future.
  5. Stop by the LSU Olinde Career Center! The LSU Olinde Career Center offers a variety of resources to assist students in every step of their career journey; from career exploration and choosing a major, to preparing for networking, a job search, or application to professional schools. In addition, LSU students and alumni have access to Handshake, an online career platform for job searching, learning about career events, and accessing career resources. Handshake uniquely tailors information to each LSU student and alumni, and houses employers who are specifically interested in hiring Tigers. Handshake boasts thousands of available jobs and internships on any given day and recommends these opportunities to students based on their interests and skills. The LSU Olinde Career Center is conveniently located in 158 LSU Student Union, next to the ATMs.

Tips on Reaching Out to Alumni:

  • Business Card Program: Students can request and print up to 20 free cards through the LSU Olinde Career Center to have on hand when networking. The Business Card Program is generously sponsored by LSU Student Government.
  • Alumni and Networking Events: “If I’ve learned anything from job searching, it’s that LSU alumni want to help other LSU students/alumni.” – Michelle Sprawls. Use the opportunities LSU has given you to make your connections today!
  • Other
    • LinkedIn Messaging: Don’t miss out on messaging potential leads!
    • Calling Professionals: It is always nice to hear an individual over the phone, let them know you are serious!
    • Emailing Professionals Directly: If you don’t have a direct number for them, make sure to email them. Don’t forget to always email, or send a letter, after they take the time to speak with you.
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Preparing for your Tiger this Summer

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With the end of the school year fast approaching it is time to start getting ready for your Tiger to come home. It is important to remember that your student has lived almost an entire year as an independent young adult, and that they might have different habits and routines then they did last year. These changes can be nerve-racking but should also make you proud as a parent, knowing that they are becoming the responsible young adults you have brought them up to be! For some tips on how to adjust to your new lives with your Tiger, please see below 🙂

  1. Discuss a general schedule for the summer. This will help you set the groundwork for the entire family. Remember, communication is key to a happy household so whether they are working or not, it is important to figure out things such as. (but not limited to):
    • When will you or your Tiger definitely be gone for the day?
    • Are you sharing a car?
    • What time do they need to be up by?
    • Do they need to text you throughout the day/night?
  1. Schedule time together. With all the excitement of coming home they will surely be very busy with a job, volunteering and/or spending time with family and friends. It is important to schedule a time for the family to spend together. You could offer to bring them to their favorite local restaurant or go get their favorite desert. This is a great opportunity to discuss the rest of the rules for living at home (see Tip #3). Respecting each other’s time by scheduling family events in advance is a great way to start off your summer together.
  1. Set rules/chores. It is unreasonable to think your Tiger will have the same rules as they did in high school, but your home is not a hotel either. Curfews are important to discuss as well as communication methods if they are out with their friends. Do you want them to call or send a text message when they are on their way home? Will you require their friend’s phone numbers in case you cannot get in contact with them? In addition, do they have chores around the house like washing the dishes or taking out the trash (in addition to any job or volunteer work they might be doing)? These rules and chores are important to discuss ahead of time with your Tiger so you are on the same page throughout the entire summer.
  1. Give your Tiger some space. This goes against the very nature of being a parent because you want to know what the year was like as well as what experiences they had, but it is important to give them some space and privacy too. Try not to collect piles of their dirty laundry or go in their bedroom without them there as they have learned to manage on their own for almost a year. It is important to give your Tiger room to breathe as well as time to get acclimated to their new life at home.
  1. Show them the love. Most of all, your Tiger is excited to be home with you and is probably ready to tell you about their experiences at LSU. Cooking their favorite meal, stealing hugs and kisses as well as watching a favorite show together will create lasting memories for the summer.

These tips will quickly get your family adjusting to life together again! Remember, every family is different and that these are general tips of what to expect this summer, but you know your Tiger best.

What experiences have you had before with your Tiger coming home? We would love to hear your tips in the comments!

Care Package FAQs

Marcia948Marcia Barton is a graduate of LSU who stumbled into her current occupation as owner/operator of Love in a Box LLC, a cottage bakery specializing in care packages for LSU parents and students. A few weeks after her current Tiger moved to campus, she privately offered to gift a box of homemade brownies with a note from the out-of-state mom to a student who was having a bad week. A Facebook thank-you from the mother turned into other parents requesting to be able to order similar packages, and the rest is history. Doing this is like a made-to-order extension of everything Marcia loves: baking, creating, people, and LSU!

 

When is the best time for parents or family members to send care packages to their students?
There are a variety of “perfect times” for care packages from home. The first opportunities are the first day of classes and sometime during the first week of the college experience. Many parents leave a small care package or note as the family leaves the Tiger’s new residence on move-in day. Not only will the freshman love the thoughtful gesture, it also has the added benefit of helping the parents feel a bit better. The paint bucket we hid in our daughter’s first campus residence was filled with her favorite snacks, a coffee gift card, and notes from each family member expressing pride and upbeat encouragement.  (Caution: This may be habit forming! That bucket makes an appearance each time she moves, and she’s very careful to make sure it ends up back home so she can count on hunting for it the second we boxleave her in her next place!) Leaving or sending something sweet a day or two after move-in with an encouraging note for your Tiger to share with roommates will help them get to know some members of their new LSU family and let them know you’re thinking of them.

About three weeks in to the semester, when the newness is wearing off and homesickness starts peeking through (even if they won’t admit it outright), a care package or card can offer cheery support from home along with a reminder to keep the bigger picture of long-term goals in mind.
student1In addition to the usual holidays (birthdays, Halloween, Valentine’s day, any holiday they can’t come home), other good times for a student to receive a little something from home include while they’re preparing for big tests/projects, after big disappointments (school-related or otherwise), and during midterms and finals.  A “just thinking of you” and “we’re SEAUX proud of you!” gift arriving out of the blue is always a big hit, too. And it also helps mom and dad feel a little more connected to their Tiger! Remember to keep any notes or letters upbeat , encouraging, and totally focused on your Tiger.

 

What should I include in the care package?
While there are plenty of options to order and have something wonderful delivered (even Amazon and the ResLife Association are in on the act), a care package doesn’t have to be elaborate; small and simple can work just fine to give your Tiger that “loved on” feeling. For parents interested in the convenience of a purchased care box2package and who are members of the Official LSU Parents Page there’s a document in the file listing several local businesses other parents have recommended through the years. Those who’d like to create and mail their own might consider sending a favorite snack or two (especially something only available at home, whether homemade or purchased); a post-card sized photo or inspirational quote to tack up on the residence hall/apartment wall; a gift card to a local eatery, coffee shop or movie theater; a spirit item, a new techie toy, book or game you know they’ll like…plus those encouraging notes from members of the family. Get siblings and grandparents and anybody significant from “back home” in on the act if you can. There are lots of Pinterest-worthy ideas for making the packaging as creative and fun as the sender can manage, but this is one place where it truly IS the thought that counts most. Your package should primarily evoke “mom/dad/home,” not Martha Stewart (unless your kids think you ARE Martha Stewart, of course!)

 

student2Do you have any resources you recommend for parents who are preparing to send a care package?
Now that I’m mailing care packages to my 2017 LSU grad who is teaching in Texas, I have had success using Little Kitchen’s tips on mailing cookies so they arrive in good shape. TheMilitaryWifeandMom site has some cute, tweak-able ideas for themed packages to make holidays apart a little easier for everyone. While the theme ideas may seem “a little over the top,” they serve as a good starting point. Finally, of course, there’s Pinterest, which can be either your best friend (lots of ideas from which to pick and choose) or your worst enemy (is anything ever “enough” anymore?!). So typing “college care package” in the Pinterest search bar is done strictly at your own risk.

Do you have any additional advice for parents who may be sending care packages to their student?
Three other thoughts about sending care packages:

  • student3
    • Keep your focus on your student. Don’t worry about what other students are getting (or not getting), or when they’re getting it. You know your student better than anyone, so just pay attention to those little clues that a long-distance “hug” would be welcome. Then send them something that suits their likes and dislikes and your skills and budget when they need it. It’s all about reminding them they’re thought of, missed, and loved.
    • Be mindful of the walk back to the residence hall from the Union post office when planning your package. Lugging a too-heavy or awkwardly large box might take some of the shine off getting something from home.  If you have tons of “perfect” ideas, send two smaller packages spaced a few weeks apart to double the fun.
    • Include your student’s roommate(s) somehow. You could send multiplesbox1 of items (with instructions to share) or tuck in something special that’s tailored for the roomie, along with a little note. Ditto for your student’s Resident Assistant or the Residence Hall Desk Assistant, who work long hours to help make LSU your Tiger’s home away from home.

Adjusting to Louisiana Culture as an Out-of-State Student

BrandonBrandon Oliver is from Houston, TX and is a Senior majoring in International Studies and French. Brandon is an LSU Ambassador and served as one of LSU’s Parent Orientation Leaders this summer.

For every incoming student, college is a great adjustment. However, there are certain things out of state students must adjust to that in state students will never experience. While attending college out of state may seem a bit daunting, college is a once in a life time opportunity, and I strongly believe an individual should not limit their options for higher education to the boundaries of the state they live in.

I came to LSU from out of state, and I would not trade my experience here for the world! When I began my college search during high school, I looked at universities all across the United States. I lived in Texas during high school; even though Texas is the largest state in the contiguous U.S, and there were plenty of excellent colleges for me to choose from, I did not find the college in state that was the best fit for me. To be honest, I dreamed of attending LSU since I was a little kid, but after I went to a Kick-Off LSU in the Spring of my Junior year, I could not imagine myself going to any other school.

My first semester at LSU was incredible! No doubt, there were some things I definitely had to get adjusted to. Coming from five hours away I couldn’t go home to wash my clothes on the weekends, I had to spend my birthday without my closest friends from high school, and I to adjust from seeing my family everyday to hardly once a month. I was the only person I knew coming into LSU, but I came in with an open mind, and I met the most amazing people.

The fall semester is so much fun at LSU. The first week students arrive on campus, there are so so many activities going on. After this, football season starts! I believe everyone should experience at least one football game at LSU during their life because it’s amazing. Homecoming and Fall Fest were my favorite events I attended Freshman year. In addition to all these great activities, I LOVED the classes I took freshman year. I remember taking Sociocultural Anthropology, and I thought it was incredibly fascinating!

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Everyone is different, but I did not feel homesick until after winter break. I truly had blast my first semester, but after I went home for the break and hung out with my friends and family, it was hard for me to leave them all again. When I got back to campus in the spring, I kept myself busy with school and decided to join a few organizations where I ended up meeting my best friends to this day.

Culture-wise, I have met out of state students who have experienced a bit of a culture shock when they first came to Louisiana. I grew up in and out of Louisiana, so the culture was nothing new to me, but I met a girl from Houston who didn’t know Cajun was culture and ethnic group, she just thought it was a type of seasoning. Most people who come from the North are surprised by the friendliness of the natives here. I personally love the French culture here. French is one of my majors, and I have had multiple opportunities to practice my French with native speakers and attend French festivals, which I would not be able to do if I attended college in any other state.

The best advice I could give to an out of state student would be to have an open mind, and to GET INVOLVED. I literally knew no one on campus the first day I arrived, but by Sophomore year LSU was my home. People come to LSU from all over the world and there are plenty of resources at LSU to ensure the success of all their students.

GEAUX Greek

IMG_3586Brielle Moreau is from Prairieville, LA and is a Junior majoring in Biological Sciences. Brielle is an active member in the Greek Community, an LSU Ambassador, and served as one of LSU’s Parent Orientation Leaders this summer.

Going off to college means so many new experiences and one of those is Greek Life. Greek Life has honestly made me feel at home for so many different and unique reasons. Being part of the Greek community is an opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself. The moment I joined my sorority, I knew that it was going to be the start of a great time here at LSU.

Before coming to college, I was worried about meeting new people and finding ways to get involved on campus, but Greek Life quickly made that very accessible to me. Greek Life is constantly giving back to the community in ways that I could have never expected. Events like Habitat for Humanity where all of Greek life comes together and builds houses for those who need them allowed me to further my bond with my sisters and other Greeks as well. I have thus far been able to make meaningful connections with individuals that will last a lifetime.

When I joined a sorority, I gained 300 new sisters to support me and guide me through my college career. These new sisters are from all walks of life and from all over the world. Not only did becoming Greek allow me to find my home, but it allowed me to make a home for others.  Even though every member of my sorority, and Greek Life in general, is from different places, we all come together to make a positive impact in our community and on campus.  Every sorority and fraternity has their own specific philanthropy that is special to them and throughout the year they host events and fundraisers to raise money to support those philanthropies.

Not only are members involved with helping the community, many members are also involved with student government and a vast variety of other organizations on campus. LSU offers over 450 different organizations on campus and Greek Life is just one of them. Apart from the involvement of the chapter as a whole, I also live in the sorority house so it has truly and literally become my home here at LSU.

Four Years Later…

Nicole PicNicole Dominique is a soon-to-be LSU graduate with a Dual-Degree in Microbiology and English Literature.  Nicole is from Thibodaux, Louisiana and has served LSU as an Ambassador, Parent Orientation Leader, BIOS Mentor, and Cox Communications Student Athlete Tutor. Recently, she was awarded as a member of the LSU Tiger Twelve Class of 2017 for her service to the campus and larger Baton Rouge community. After graduation, Nicole will attend LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans to pursue a combined M.D./M.P.H degree. 

Two papers, two exams, and a couple steps across a stage: it seems strange that this is all that is left of my LSU career. Being so close to graduation, this semester has forced me to reflect on my time at LSU.

It’s unbelievable to me how much LSU has given me. I’d like to think that LSU, the experiences it has provided me, and the people on campus found me in the times that I needed them the most.  I will leave with significant memories including volunteering at the Crisis Intervention Center, studying abroad in the U.K., assisting families and students through LSU Ambassadors, and meeting many genuine people. From my random roommate freshman year (still a close friend) to encouraging professors, LSU seems to attract individuals eager to connect with others.

LSU has taught me about myself and has given me a deeper love for Louisiana, motivating me to give back to the state that has raised and formed me.

College is challenging, but in a way that enables you to find your passions (still a bittersweet and scary time). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the help that enabled me to arrive at this point. For future students, I would recommend seeking out our post-orientation programs, like STRIPES (for entering freshmen) and BIOS (for entering science majors). I attended BIOS, and it gave me an insight into what being a Science major was like before beginning in the Fall. Additionally, I benefited from Supplemental Instruction, study sessions led by fellow students who have already taken the class, especially for notorious classes like organic chemistry.
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LSU gave me experiences that I never imagined being able to do, and I was able to pursue an education that I really enjoyed. I know that my time here has been meaningful and will remain with me. LSU has a way of making itself your home and a place that you are sad to leave with only 2 weeks before graduation. I can’t in any way tell everyone how to chart their path, but just know that there are many resources, experiences, and kind people waiting for you!

What My First Year at LSU Taught Me

Tori2Tori Landry is from Albany, LA and is a freshman majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in public relations. Tori is an LSU Ambassador and will serve as one of LSU’s Orientation Leaders during FOAP 2017 this summer.

Going to school in a small town, the idea of change is a frightening one. As frightening as the thought may have seemed, it was always a dream of mine to attend LSU.

When I first attended my orientation session, I was beyond anxious. I felt that I had made a huge mistake. Who was I to think I could actually thrive in such a large campus? Who was I to think I could make a difference or be remembered here at LSU? I left orientation feeling hopeless and became nauseated at the idea of leaving the small town I had become so accustomed to. My mom offered advice saying getting involved on campus is the best thing to do. It wasn’t until I became a member of LSU Ambassadors that I realized how true this actually was.

I attended the info meeting for LSU Ambassadors in the fall semester. Because I had to attend the meeting by myself, I was petrified. To this day, it is still one of the best decisions I’ve made. I felt so embarrassed being there alone because I had always depended on my friends and family in everything I did. If I hadn’t attended that info meeting I wouldn’t be the person I am today. College taught me it’s okay to be scared and it’s okay to be alone. Everyone is just trying to find themselves. A lot of that goes hand in hand with doing things on your own.

My first year has taught me momentary fear can lead to everlasting success. If you Tori1are fearful because you graduated with a class of 118 students and you feel you’ll be just another number at this university, get involved! Push your limits – go out of your way to make friends and make the experience memorable. LSU offers more than enough opportunities to get involved as we have over 350 organizations offered on our campus.

My first year taught me it’s okay to try new things and discover what your dreams really are. To think that I will be orienting new tigers this upcoming summer is mind-blowing in relation to where I just was last summer.

What a difference a year can make, and it’s all up to you to make it a remarkable one!